The NEXUS: Integrated Sustainable Energy for Enhancing Farm Productivity


Faculty and students from the departments of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment and Applied Design at ASU have built a 20 ft. by 30 ft. greenhouse including a small scale pyrolysis system, solar thermal heating system, compost heating system, an anaerobic digestion (AD) system, and aquaponics system using several grants including EPA funding and the NCDA&CS. This demonstration site, called “Nexus,” is located at the Watauga County Landfill, in Boone, NC. Faculty and students at ASU are experimenting with a synergistic approach to renewable energy and sustainable living.

The biomass greenhouse heating system utilizes all kinds of the feedstock typically available on a small farm, which can be an affordable greenhouse-heating energy source for those seeking lower energy costs. AD and compost generate energy from readily digestible materials and the pyrolysis system handles relatively indigestible biomass, such as wood scrap. Not only is heat energy produced but also high quality soil amendments, e.g., compost, digester slurry, and bio-char, which help increase productivity.

In other words, the Nexus is the sustainable closed-loop production system that uses agricultural wastes to generate energy to heat greenhouses and produce soil amendments. The proposed low-cost biomass greenhouse heating systems will help resource-limited farmers extend the growing season, benefiting: community by enhancing access to fresh local produce, farmers by increasing the income in cold season, and the local environment by avoiding fossil-fuel energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions normally associated with greenhouse heating and transportation of non-local produce.

Download this tri-fold brochure for more information.

December 2018 update

July 2018 update: NEXUS research project cuts by half local farm's greenhouse energy consumption article by Appalachian Today

June 2018 update: An Innovative Biochar System article by The Appalachian Voice

November 2017 update

November 2016 update

NexusNEXUSNexus greenhouse

This project is generously supported by:

EPA Logo                                 Bioenergy Research Initiative Logo                                  NCDA&CS Seal

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Jamie Russell, PhD, MEng
Interim Director

828-262-6553 (fax)

401 Academy Street
226 IG Greer Hall
ASU Box 32131
Boone, NC 28608


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